The sacred fabric of a city is defined by its people. When citizens, local government and community- outreach organizations work together collaboratively, the result can be booming economic development, improved residential opportunities and increased public safety. It is impossible to have success or failure in one category without the other two producing the same result. But to achieve these shared goals, we need to begin at the beginning.
Public safety is the first and most critical component when building a city of opportunity because public safety affects every citizen and every neighborhood. Mrs. Toni Brinker Pickens, Founder of Operation Blue Shield as well as Economic Partners Investing in Communities (EPIC), perhaps summed it up best when she said, “Safe and economically sustainable neighborhoods only happen when people living and working in those neighborhoods have a sense of security built on a foundation of trust. Whether it’s the parents of a young family putting their children to bed for the night or someone catching the bus and heading home for dinner, a sense of security coupled with a feeling of community inclusion instills the desire, courage and determination to pursue their own dreams.”
The economic benefit of reducing crime is the lynchpin to improving public safety and creating safer, more stable and more secure neighborhoods. Paramount to achieving reduced crime rates are citizens and law enforcement agencies cooperating together through open dialogue and community-centric activities. By working collectively to acknowledge issues, we can create an atmosphere of cooperation and a shared vision of safe and thriving neighborhoods.
Prosperous and vibrant communities lead to improved accessibility to homeownership opportunities, better schools, better health care and, most importantly, job-creative economic development that benefits every individual, every taxpayer and every community across our great nation. The economic advantages derived from a secure and thriving community-centric city will produce the sound, fiscal conditions that provide all mayors and city councils the opportunity to reduce spending, expand revenues and deliver the vital goods and services that all Americans want and expect.
The cycle begins with us. Like the legs on a three-legged stool; public safety, neighborhood stability and economic-development opportunities are inextricably intertwined. To work successfully, each one needs the support of others. Collaboration is the key. Collaboration only happens when the power of one becomes the “power of many.”